Michael Bushnell

A recent package liquor permit application to the city’s Regulated Industries Department by Aldi at 721 The Paseo has some Northeast neighborhood leaders more than a little concerned given the store’s proximity to at least three homeless shelters and its address on a Boulevard where liquor permits have historically been discouraged.

The Northeast News received notification of the permit application from the city’s Regulated Industries Department on January 31st along with voting and consent forms. Recipients of the notification have thirty days from receipt of the letter to return the voting forms with an up-down vote on the permit.

The application came as a surprise to some stakeholders that remember a commitment an Aldi representative made to Northeast community leaders back in 2007, when the Paseo store was originally built, that they would not seek a liquor permit at that location as a condition of

That agreement was negotiated by Old Northeast Incorporated, (ONE Inc.) and Historic Northeast Restoration Corporation, (HNRC) two of the Community Development Corporations that served Northeast between 1986 and 2009. Mike Spady, HNRC’s Urban Planner during that time, noted that an Aldi representative attended an HNRC Board meeting, pledging the soon to be constructed Paseo Aldi  would not be seeking a liquor permit.

Another hurdle the grocery chain may face in the issuance of the permit is that it may have to be approved by the city’s Parks Board. According to a Boulevards and Parkways Standards document approved by the city’s Parks Department in 2010, any retailer located on a designated Parkway or Boulevard , must have the alcoholic beverage license approved by the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners in addition to the city’s Regulated Industries Department.

Paseo West Neighborhood President Evie Craig expressed disappointment at having to address the issue a third time. “We’re happy to have the Paseo Aldi as part of the Northeast grocery family,” Craig said. “Under the current circumstances, it would be an incredible danger to the families that currently shop at that Aldi,” Craig continued, referencing the high number of homeless shelters within a stone’s throw of the store.

The Northeast News reached out to an Aldi spokesperson for comment but as of press time they had not responded.